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Buffalo Must Think Small Market

from the Buffalo News,

The Buffalo Sabres waited a long time for the NHL to get its financial house in order. And while they turned a profit in the first year of the new collective bargaining agreement, there's no guarantee they'll reside in the black as the CBA continues to mature and salaries escalate. Their small-market status mandates the Sabres tread cautiously. Paying Jay McKee in the vicinity of $3 million a season, a figure he might attain through free agency, would throw their payroll structure out of kilter. How can anyone rationalize paying McKee well in excess of the combined salaries of the team's top two defensemen, Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman? And if Regier were to cave, which he won't, he would be contributing to the indiscriminate salary escalation he lobbied against for years. McKee's a warrior who warrants a substantial increase from the Sabres, but it has to come within the small-market context.
read on

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Devils Waiting For Answers

from NorthJersey.com,

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was noncommittal Thursday when asked if he was optimistic that he could get Elias and/or Langenbrunner signed before the deadline. "We'll do whatever we can, but I can't answer those questions," Lamoriello said. Langenbrunner's agent, Steve Bartlett, believes there's still enough time left to reach a deal with the Devils, though. "It shouldn't take that long to get it done, if we can get it done," Bartlett said. When noon arrives Saturday, Elias and Langenbrunner will be free to follow in the steps of Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Holik and a host of other unrestricted free agents who left New Jersey when they got the chance.
more

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Bring Em All Back

from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox,

Nice to see the cheerleaders are out for Gary Roberts and his return to Toronto. Is there a team in sport that loves to bring back players more than the Leafs? From Punch Imlach to Carl Brewer to Wendel Clark to Doug Gilmour to Drake Berehowsky, a former Leaf is always coming back. Of course, it never seems to dissuade the management team at the time that it never pays off. To bad they can't bring back the draft pick that New Jersey used to draft Scott Niedermayer. Or the one used to draft Roberto Luongo. All bringing back Roberts will do is take away ice time from young players like Alex Steen. Moreover, it erases the chance to develop a fresh, new dressing room atmosphere currently available with Pat Quinn gone and veterans like Ed Belfour and others on their way out.
more hockey talks scattered through Damien's latest post...

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Seven Teams Show Interest In Chara

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

"Hopefully, they will turn our attention to us now," said Chara's agent, Matt Keator, after learning of Redden's signing. "There's nothing to say we can't talk past July 1 because he'd still like to be with the Senators." The word is the Kings, Rangers, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Wild, Panthers and Bruins are ready to make a pitch for Chara. It's believed Muckler is prepared to offer Chara a similar deal to the one Redden received. That won't be good enough because Chara will likely command between $7 million and $8 million on the open market.

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Bruins Have Money To Spend

from the Boston Herald, What transpires during the first few days - perhaps even the first crazy hours - of the unrestricted free agent market will have an enormous impact on the Bruins. If they hope to return to respectability next season, they must make a successful free agent haul. Many believe the B’s, after the chaos and rancor of last season, might have a difficult time drawing quality free agents. But they have plenty of money to spend, maybe as much as $25 million, depending on which players they announce today they have bought out. That list is expected to include Alexei Zhamnov ($4.1 million), Shawn McEachern ($1.1 million) and perhaps Travis Green ($700,000). read on

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Oh Pronger

from the Edmonton Journal,

Just when you thought it was safe to wash your lucky Oilers jersey and go golfing . -Chris Pronger sends a Dear Edmonton dispatch from Mexico, through his agent. -Note to Pronger: Hell hath no fury like an obsessed fan scorned. Make amends, soon. If you need motivation, go to oilfans.com. It's ugly, man. -When Chris Pronger was traded to Edmonton last summer he was one season away from being a free agent. If Edmonton wasn't to his liking -- or even if he was uncertain -- why sign a five-year contract? Oilers fans want to know. -Journal reader Pat Langner wants us to make Pronger lemonade out of Pronger lemons. "Instead of getting all gloomy over the Pronger situation, we should be celebrating the birth of a brand new, Edmonton-owned and operated, verb," Langner writes. The dictionary would list it this way, says Langner: pronger /prong-er/ v. a sudden, unexplained departure.
more

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Nonis Can Sleep Now

from the Vancouver Sun,

Vancouver Canuck Roberto Luongo, who has never played for the team or a playoff game for anyone, became Thursday the highest-paid goalie in the National Hockey League when he signed a four-year, $27 million US deal that equals the pay scale of Chicago Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, whose name alone should induce Chief Insp. Dreyfus-type facial twitching among general managers. "Someone said to me: 'You know why Lou Lamoriello sleeps in New Jersey? Because he has Martin Brodeur,' " Nonis said a few days ago and a few days after acquiring Luongo from the Florida Panthers. "Lou calls Marty at night and asks: 'Everything OK? Good.' Then he goes to sleep because he knows his team is going to be in every game. "I'd like to sleep at night. Roberto Luongo will keep us in every game, and even on nights when we're not as good as we'd like to be, he'll get us points."
read on

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Flames Working On Tanguay Extension

from the Calgary Sun,

The Calgary Flames may be saying hello to a couple more new faces this summer. It's even more likely they've said their last goodbyes to popular veterans Chris Simon and Shean Donovan. Unless new contracts are signed today, both wingers are set to become unrestricted free agents at 10 p.m. tonight when the NHL free-for-all is slated to begin. Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter is working hard to lock up newcomer Alex Tanguay -- a restricted free agent -- for more than just next season but that's where his current negotiation list ends. "I'm not talking contracts with any of our unrestricted free agents," Sutter said over the phone yesterday from his office at the Saddledome.
continued

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Nashville Plans For UFAs

frrom the Tennessean,

When the NHL's free agency market opens tomorrow, the Predators will have two items on their shopping list: a top-quality center and a back-up goaltender. The goalie should be relatively easy to find, but the center might have to go on back order. This season's free-agent crop appears to be heavy at defense, moderate in net and at wing, and light at center. "Our thoughts are more toward center ice than any other position, but when you scan the list there's not a long list of high-quality center icemen,'' Predators General Manager David Poile said. "So a move like that might come after free agency. It might come via trade, if it does come. Sometimes what you need and what you get doesn't match up.''
continued

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Decisions For The Avs

from the Gazette,

...With the NHL's salary cap raised to $44 million earlier this week, Giguere has $5 million more than his predecessor, Pierre Lacroix, had to work with last year. But Giguere still has plenty of tough decisions to make. With the free-agent season opening Saturday, Colorado already has approximately $27.5 million committed to 13 players under contract for the 2006-07 season. And due to a pair of $2.3 million bonuses to Sakic and defenseman Rob Blake that will count against the cap next season, the Avalanche has only about $12 million with which to fill out its roster. Among the decisions facing Giguere: Can he — and should he — re-sign Blake, an unrestricted free agent? How many of the team's other 11 free agents should he sign? What free agents from other teams should he attempt to bring to Denver? And should he attempt to buy out the contracts of under-achieving players?

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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